City staffers take pre-storm precautions; other news and notes

Biloxi Public Works crews were cleaning storm drains and catch basins this afternoon and securing construction sites as emergency management leaders announced that heavy rains and gusty winds from Tropical Storm Fay could begin impacting the area beginning early Sunday.

“We’re doing the things that we’re asking all resident to do: prepare your property for wind and rain, and check your family storm plan and emergency supplies,” said Mayor A.J. Holloway. “As we’ve always said, prepare, prepare, prepare.”

Biloxi schools chief Dr. Paul A. Tisdale alerted public schools staffers to prepare classrooms at the close of school today for as much as three to five inches of rain beginning early Sunday. The school system would continue to monitor storm reports over the weekend before making any announcements about any possible changes in schedules. No changes are planned at this time.

At City Hall, staff members were re-checking emergency contact information on key city employees. Police officers and firefighters were checking fuel levels in emergency vehicles and watercraft that could be used in storm-related incidents.

According to emergency management reports this afternoon, “Tropical Storm Fay remains overland at this time, with a slow movement West – Northwest. On its current track, TS Fay is expected to impact portions of the Mississippi Gulf Coast beginning early Sunday morning. Presently sustained winds are near 45 mph and little change in strength is expected in the next 24 hours.”

Residents are encouraged to protect property by securing loose items and making certain that they have a disaster supplies kit.

Biloxi Public Works Director Richard Sullivan, in addition to dispatching crews to clear storm drains, had staffers photographing construction sites to document their pre-storm condition. Said Sullivan: “We’re just being prudent.”

Gusty winds and heavy rains could topple trees and interrupt electrical power as the storm approaches, emergency management leaders advised. Residents living in low-lying areas should remain vigilant and watch for rising waters and take necessary precautions.

No evacuations are ordered at this time. Residents living in less sturdy housing should monitor new reports and be prepared to move to a safer secure location if needed.

Storm info online: You can find real-time radar from points along the entire Gulf Coast, a storm preparation checklist, and links to the National Hurricane Center in the city’s online Storm & Flood Preparedness section. To go there now, click here.

City emails: Know someone who should be receiving these e-mails? Click on Share with a Friend at the bottom of this email to forward.

News and notes

Council meeting: The Biloxi City Council will meet twice on Tuesday, a 9 a.m. meeting where water rates and social service spending are scheduled to be discussed, and a regularly scheduled 1:30 p.m. meeting, where the Seashore Oaks re-zoning issue is on the agenda. To see the complete agenda for both meetings, click here.

Special sailors: Assistant Police Chief Rodney McGilvary and members of the Biloxi Police Department today are helping stage the annual Special Olympics sailing regatta at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club. Dozens of special sailors from several Southeastern states, along with coaches and family members, began arriving Wednesday for the event, which began with opening ceremonies Thursday at the Biloxi Community Center and concludes with a closing ceremony Saturday at the Beau Rivage.

Weekend entertainment: Michael Bolton, Clarence Carter, John Conlee, Johnny Lee and Ray Price are among the headliners in town this weekend. The Coast Coliseum is also hosting the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. To see the complete lineup of weekend entertainment, as compiled by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, click here.